Special Ingredients


So, I have to admit it, when Lucky Spool posted something on IG months ago talking about publishing their first cookbook, I fell for it hook, line and sinker.  I was excited too because I like to cook!  However, the actual project, The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson, was not a let down by any means.  It’s a beautiful, hardcover book with 50 block patterns, or recipes, and unique sampler quilt layouts to showcase the blocks. Amy has figured out the quilt math for you and provides you with many options so that you can use the blocks in a myriad of ways and make them your own.  That’s just what I decided to do.

Owl Medallion by Amy Friend

I had recently made a paper pieced owl block of my own design (pattern can be found in my book, Intentional Piecing: From Fussy Cutting to Foundation Piecing). I enlarged it to 16″ and pieced it using Maureen Cracknell’s new collection called Nightfall.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the block and was pondering some sort of medallion when The Quilt Block Cookbook arrived at my doorstep. I added a 2″ border so that I could surround the owl block with 9″ blocks.


I used the Plus One Block from Amy’s book.  I was so happy to see that she had the templates for the orange peel applique in a number of sizes so there was one that was just right for my 9″ block even though the recipe was for a 12″ finished block.


The quilt backing is a fun mishmash of the rest of the Nightfall Collection.

Owl Medallion by Amy Friend

I’m really happy with the way the design worked out. The appliqued leaves on this block are just perfect with the owl.  I added one leaf on the otherwise plain corner blocks to make a sort of ring around the owl.  They lend the perfect softness to the design, balancing the pluses.


I think my favorite part of the book, besides the beautiful photos and Amy’s inspirational blocks, are the truly unique sampler layouts.  Often, I find sampler quilts a little too busy and like to see the blocks have some room to breathe.  Amy handles this beautifully–here is one example, the Princess Cut Quilt.  She has incorporated negative space into many of the layouts too, requiring fewer pieced blocks–I can see this being really helpful for those stacks of bee blocks that we all have hanging around waiting to be made into quilt tops!

I believe that I will turn to this book again for inspiration and am happy to add it to my quilt book shelf.  I think you would enjoy it too.  It can be purchased here.


My Tribe Quilt

My Tribe Quilt by Amy Friend from Intentional Piecing

The My Tribe quilt seems to be one of the most popular quilts in my new book, Intentional Piecing.  I have to say that I really enjoyed making it as well.  It’s a fun combination of paper piecing and applique.  There are three tee pees that have animals peeking out from behind them!  Such a fun dash of whimsy!  My book outlines the steps you need to take in order to place your appliques appropriately while paper piecing. It takes a little bit of planning but isn’t difficult!

My Tribe Quilt by Amy Friend from Intentional Piecing

I had fun using alternate gridwork here with the addition of those oversize arrows.

My Tribe Quilt by Amy Friend from Intentional Piecing

I have to thank my step father, John, who really went all out for me setting up a campsite in his yard so I could take these pictures.  All his years of collecting canvas tents, wooden poles, furs, baskets, wool blankets, etc. really came in handy!  And to think that I tease him about his collections all the time…I should bite my tongue because those props made for such great pictures!

My Tribe Quilt by Amy Friend from Intentional Piecing

The bottom band of each tee pee is a fussy cutter’s delight.  I used some of Maureen Cracknell’s Wild and Free fabrics, particularly Sun Tracks which is a fun print made of stripes of different motifs. They can be cut to look like they came from different pieces of fabric! This quilt ended up bring kind of an ode to Art Gallery Fabrics! I used prints from so many of their collection. In addition to Maureen’s, I used Hello Bear by Bonnie Christine, Wanderer by April Rhodes, and an older collection, Indian Summer by Sarah Watson.

I look forward to seeing more of these blocks appear! If you use the hashtags #intentionalpiecingbook and #mytribequilt, I will be sure to see them!


Circuitry Quilt

Selvages, Amy Friend

For months now, I have been telling people to save their selvages because I had a pattern coming up that I was excited about.  I would like to share that project with you today!  I have always been drawn to selvages and even more so once companies started adding cute touches to them in recent years!

Circuitry Quilt by Amy Friend from Intentional Piecing

I designed Circuitry to use half low volume selvages (since those fabrics have been so hot lately resulting in tons of low volume selvages!) and half rainbow colors grouped into a sort of spinning wheel pattern. I just love the result and hope you do too!  I feel like it’s a really fun and modern take on the selvage quilt and it’s an easy and fun sew.

Circuitry Quilt by Amy FriendI had to throw in this detail shot because it’s one of my favorites. I took it on an old screen door with a Salada Tea push bar. I am a huge hot tea/ice tea fan so this picture makes me smile.

You can find this project in my new book, Intentional Piecing.  Thanks for visiting!


Stash Happy Tote

Stash Happy Tote with Teacher's Pet block by Amy Friend

I wanted to share another project from my book today because I feel that it is timely with the end of the school year approaching.  I think that this bag would make a great teacher’s gift!  It’s called the Stash Happy Tote because I am hoping that you will be able to make it by simply pulling 3 half yard pieces from your stash for the body of the bag. I don’t tend to buy lots of yardage but like to purchase half yard pieces so for me, it works out well!


In the book, I offer 10 different paper pieced block patterns that all work for the front pocket of the tote.  You can customize it any way you like to suit the recipient.

Stash Happy Tote with Teacher's Pet Block by Amy Friend

I just made another tote today using the same block, perfect for a teacher or librarian or any book lover. It would serve well as a library bag even.  I plan to make more bags with some of the other blocks down the line and will be sure to share them when I do.

I have received word from a number of my readers that their Amazon orders of Intentional Piecing are arriving within the next couple of days!  That’s very exciting. I can’t wait for you to receive your copies and share your projects with me.  Please use the hashtag #intentionalpiecingbook on Instagram.  If you make this project, you can also use #stashhappytote and #teacherspetquiltblock.


The End of the Holiday Sewing

Leather Basket

I finished up a few last minute handmade holiday items. I believe that this will be it for this year, but one never knows.  I do have two more days!  I made this Leather Basket from Krista Fleckenstein’s new Beyond Cotton: Making by Hand: Stamp, Print, Dye & Paint 18 Modern Mixed Media Sewing Projects. This book is a great resource if you are interested in expanding your horizons to printing on fabric, dying fabric and sewing with leather, among other techniques. This project was a first for me in two ways. I had never worked with leather before. And I had never used rivets. So it was a fun sense of accomplishment! This will be going in my husband’s Christmas stocking.

Teddy Sleeping Bag

I stitched up this little sleeping bag for my goddaughter. My daughter’s well loved bear is modeling here but we bought her a new bear to go inside! It’s such a fun project and a quick sew. I used Florence’s pattern found here.


And finally, I made this ornament for our tree from Kerry Goulder’s Mrs. Tufty die for Sizzix. I thought that this bird would be much more fiddly to sew than it was. It actually went together quite easily. Kerry’s directions are very clear and complete. With the die cut accuracy, the curved pieces fit perfectly. I had always wondered how to sew knotted eyes like this. I used the instructions found in Kerry’s book, Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love: 18 Toy Patterns for the Storytelling Sewist. I was happy to learn just how easy they were!

I hope you are having fun putting the final handmade touches on your Christmas!


Scraps, Inc. and Twinkle

Twinkle by Amy Friend


I was so excited to be invited to contribute to Scraps, Inc., a collaborative book published by Lucky Spool. Working on this book was a wonderful experience with lots of collaboration so I truly felt part of the process. And I was honored to be in such good company. Contributors to this book are: Alex Ledgerwood, Allison Harris, Amy Ellis, Amy Smart, April Rosenthal, Beth Vassalo, Camille Roskelley, Faith Jones, Jeni Baker, Kati Spencer, Lee Heinrich, Melissa Lunden, Sherri McConnell and Susan Beal. I bet you can all find one of your favorite quilters in that line up.  I know I can.

Twinkle by Amy Friend

My quilt is named Twinkle and is, you guessed it, paper pieced. I arrived at this “new to me” color scheme through the inspirational mood board provided by Lucky Spool at the beginning of the process. I quite like the colors but didn’t have enough of them in my stash so I asked my guild, the SMQG, for contributions. Several of the members were kind enough to bring me scraps in these colors. I used so many different prints in this quilt! I have to say, that made it really fun to piece. I didn’t get bored even though I worked on this quilt for weeks.  There was a method to my madness. I sorted my scraps into 7 color groups and then assigned each color to a section of my paper pieced foundation. But it was so fun picking from each pile to assemble the blocks.

Twinkle by Amy Friend

I threw in some fussy cuts here and there including little bicycles and foxes.  And I used some of my favorite text prints too.  The resulting pattern has small dark charcoal pinwheels where the wedges meet at one end and light grey pinwheels at the other.  I quilted with diagonal lines set 1/2″ apart.
Scraps Inc. Cover


Lucky Spool is offering this book at 30% off right now using the code “SCRAPS30.” Enter that code where it says “Coupon Code” at the time of check out.  The code will expire on 12/1/2014 and can only be used on this title.  The discount is taken off the original price of $26.95.

photo courtesy ©Lucky Spool Media, LLC.

photo courtesy ©Lucky Spool Media, LLC.

Scraps, Inc. is full of beautiful quilts by talented quilters and designers. My favorite picture in the whole book is this one–and it’s not because my quilt is in it! It’s because the four quilts look so pretty together and yet so different from one another. I think that’s where the shared mood board and color guidance really came into play. One of my favorite quilts in the book is Sunset Tiles by Jeni Baker which you can see here on the bottom right.

I hope you will pick up a copy and do some scrap busting. I know that’s a New Year’s resolution I often hear among quilters and the New Year is almost here!